• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, and Slack. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.



Page history last edited by Laura Gibbs 2 years, 3 months ago


Extra Credit Tech Tips


Browsers - Search - Canvas - Blogger - Twine-OUCreate

Images-Graphics - Audio-Video - Reading-Research - Misc.




Although this is not a technology class, it's an online class — and that means we will be relying on web technology to connect and communicate. These tips are designed to help you take full advantage of the great opportunities that web technology can offer. If you have ideas for tips that I can add to this list, let me know! I'll be adding new tips for this semester marked with ** NEW **.


For each Tech Tip, there is some kind of blog post involved, and then you can do the Declaration. And remember, you can work ahead, so if you find these tips helpful, you can do a whole bunch all at once, declaring one for each week (current week, next week, the week after, etc.). All those modules are available in Canvas, with a Tech Tip Declaration in each week, and the Declaration always looks like this:


I chose a Tech Tip from the list and followed the instructions.

POST TITLE: I used the phrase "Tech Tip" plus the name of the tip.
(example. Tech Tip: Creating a Cheezburger Meme)
POST LABELS: I used the label "Tech Tip" plus the week's label.
(example. Tech Tip, Week 2 — separated by a comma)


NOTE: Features for these online tools can change without warning. So, if you notice that the instructions do not match the current version of the tool, please let me know and I will update the page for that tip to match the current version.



Here are some tips for optimizing your browser and also for troubleshooting if you run into a problem:

  • Browser Tune-Up. This was part of the Week 1 Orientation, but if you did not get a chance to complete that during Week 1, you can do that now, learning about browser bookmarks, spellcheck, and word count options.
  • Mozilla Firefox. Having multiple browsers on your computer is always a good idea because some websites behave differently in different browsers. For this tip, you can install and configure the Firefox browser from the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. 
  • Text to Speech. This extension allows you to highlight a chunk of text on any webpage, and then hear the text read out loud by a speech synthesizer.
  • Browser Troubleshooting. If you are having trouble with a web-based tool (Canvas, Google Sites, Blogger), this is a list of browser tricks to try to fix the problem.
  • Creative Commons Browser Extension. This Creative Commons project makes it easy to search for openly licensed content without having to open a new tab in your browser; you can search right there! 



These are some search tools and tips:

  • Duck Duck Go. This is a search engine alternative to Google. Unlike Google, DDG does not track your personal information, which means it is not selling your personal information to advertisers as Google does.
  • Google Data Controls. For this Tech Tip, you will learn about how to set auto-delete options to gain more control over your Google data, including search data.  
  • Creative Commons Image Search. This is a great image search engine that you can use. One very valuable feature: it gives you exactly the image information you need to attribute the image properly, just copy-and-paste. And be sure to check out the browser extension too! 
  • Google Reverse Image Search. Did you know you can search by image at Google, just like searching by words? It's a great way to track down image information and bigger image files.



We don't use Canvas a lot in this class, so I think these Canvas tips are enough, but if you can think of another Canvas tip for me to include, let me know: 

  • Canvas Profile. For this tip, you'll update your Canvas profile. Plus, you can update your display name if you don't actually use your official first name. You can also designate your pronouns.
  • Canvas Dashboard. This tip explains the features of the Canvas Dashboard and how to configure the dashboard with course nicknames, adding/removing courses, turning off the color overlay, etc.
  • Canvas Gradebook. This tip offers some advice for how to use the Canvas Gradebook to keep track of your work for this class. 
  • Canvas Calendar. Learn how to use the Canvas calendar, and also how to export the calendar into another calendar you already use; that's how you can combine your personal class schedule with the official class deadlines.
  • Canvas Notifications. Use this tip to configure your notification preferences. You will not be getting a lot of notifications for this class, but this could be useful for your other classes. (Unfortunately, notification preferences are Canvas-wide, not class-by-class.)
  • Canvas Mobile App. Use this tip to install the Canvas mobile app and report on your experience. The app is not really pertinent to this class, but it might be very useful for other classes!



The instructions below are for Blogger, but you can do all the same things (and more) in WordPress of course.

  • Blogger Templates. Use this tip to change the look-and-feel of your Blogger blog, including the new mobile-friendly templates like Contempo and Soho. You can also adjust the number and position of sidebars, column widths, etc.
  • Blogger Profile. For this tip, you can configure and display your Blogger Profile OR you can hide your profile and display name; it's all up to you!
  • Blogger Favicon. You can upload a favicon image to replace the default Blogger image in the browser tab.
  • Embed GoogleMap. It's easy to embed a dynamic Google Map (zoom in, zoom out!) inside a Blogger post.
  • Embed Google Slides. This is a great alternative to Powerpoint, allowing you to make slideshows that are easy to embed in any blog post (or in a blog sidebar if you prefer).
  • Create a Clickable Link in Comments. This is a quick introduction to typing your own HTML code to add clickable links even when there is no editor to create the link for you.
  • See Audio-Video below for how to embed YouTube videos and SoundCloud audio in a blog.


Blogger Sidebar Tips: If you are using one of the templates with a visible sidebar, these are fun tips to try.



These are just a few suggestions; if there are some image tools and tips you can suggest, let me know! For image search tools, see the SEARCH section. 

  • Cheezburger. You can make LOLCats and all kinds of other memes also at the Cheezburger site, either using their huge collection of images or uploading your own image to build on.
  • Memes with Google Draw. If you have your own images (like pictures of your pets!) that you want to make into memes, Google Draw is very fast and easy! 
  • Meme Generator. Use ImgFlip or some other meme generator to create a meme and post it in your blog. 
  • Quotemakers. I've included a long list of quotemaker tools here that you can use to create your own quote graphic; feel free to repeat using a different tool each time if you want. And if you have a favorite quotemaking tool that you already use, let me know!
  • Animated GIF Maker. You can use gifmaker.me to create an animated gif with multiple images. 
  • Fake Social Media Generator. This tip is very useful if you want to tell a story in "social media style" using fake Twitter or Facebook images. 
  • Collage-Maker. If you have multiple images you want to display, creating a collage can be a very nice way to do that! 
  • Word Clouds. Word clouds are a fun way to turn text into an image, either based on frequency or just based on the words themselves.  
  • Crop and Resize Images. It's a good idea to learn how to resize images, especially if you want to stack them or put them in a row.  

Specific one-use generators: there are literally hundreds of these online; if you have a favorite, write up a tip post with a link to the generator. Here are some that I like:

  • Einstein Chalkboard. This generator has been around a LONG time, and it is a personal favorite of mine.
  • Fortune-Cookie. Add the fortune you want to a fortune cookie image. 
  • Newspaper Clipping. This generator creates an old-fashioned looking newspaper image with your text. 
  • Talking Owl. This generator creates an animated gif with an owl "saying" the words you provide.
  • Ninja Text. This is an animation generator that has a tiny ninja draw your text for you. 



I am a big fan of both YouTube and SoundCloud!



OUCreate offers you webspace of your own, and even a domain of your own, and once you have your own webspace you can publish Twine files and other web contents:

  • OUCreate: Your Webspace. This tip is for getting started with OUCreate webspace, which you can then use to publish Twine stories, a website you create with Seamonkey, or for a WordPress blog, etc.
  • Get started with Twine. For this tip, you will create a simple "pick a number" game-story in Twine.
  • Publish Twine at OUCreate. For this tip, you will publish your Twine game file in your OUCreate webspace (or any other webspace you want to use).
  • Embed Twine in Blog Post. After you publish your Twine file, you can embed the file in a blog post. People don't have to click and leave your blog to play the game; they can play the game right there in your post.
  • Embed Twine in Google Site. You can also embed your Twine file in a Google Site page (or any webpage where iframe can be used).
  • Twine Styles. There are other Twine style beyond the default black-background style. This tip will show you how to change from one Twine style to another.
  • OUCreate: Subdomains. If you have your own domain at OUCreate, that means you can create subdomains, and you can use those subdomains as quick-and-easy addresses to share with people (for example, Flickr.LauraGibbs.net, which goes straight to my Flickr albums).
  • Mozilla Seamonkey. Also from Mozilla, Seamonkey is a free HTML editor that you can use to publish single webpages or full-blown websites. For this tip, you will install Seamonkey, use its Composer to create a webpage, and publish that webpage in your own web space.
  • Randomizer Javascript. In this tip, you will learn how to use the free tool RotateContent.com to create a randomizer in the form of a javascript which you can host in your OUCreate webspace and publish in a blog post.



These are tools for reading and research you do in this class, or in your other classes too:

  • "My Library" at OU. You can create a customized OU Library resource list for one-click access to the online Library resources you use most (for me, that's JStor and Oxford English Dictionary).
  • Kindle Overview. This tip provides an overview of the Kindle book system from Amazon, which allows you to read books with a Kindle device OR with your phone OR with your computer web browser.
  • Kindle Highlights. This tip explains how you can copy-and-paste text passages you have highlighted in your Kindle by using your web-based "Kindle Notebook" (this is probably my favorite thing about Kindle books!).
  • Google Define/Etymology. Did you know that you can use Google Search like a dictionary? This tip features the "define" and "etymology" Google search parameters.



Here are some miscellaneous tools you might find useful:

  • Class Announcements Email. If you want, you can subscribe to receive the class announcements each day by email.
  • Google Timer. Did you know you can configure a Timer just by using the Google search box? No kidding! It's a great way to pace yourself if you want to time a task, take a timed break, etc.
  • Typing Test. There are lots of sites where you can test your typing speed and accuracy. If you want to work on improving your typing, it's good to find a typing test online that you feel comfortable with.
  • Touch Typing Game - Ninja Cat v. Zombie Dinosaurs. Fast, accurate typing is a big plus in an online class. For this tip you can try out the Ninja Cat game and see if you think an online game might improve your typing.
  • Google Art Project. This is a great extension for learning about art around the world if Chrome is your browser. It displays a new image every day from the Google Art Project as the background for any empty browser tab. 




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